The Baltimore Ravens have had one of the most impressive offseasons of any team thus far, as GM Ozzie Newsome was somehow able to re-sign all of his top free agents. Dennis Pitta, Daryl Smith, and Eugene Monroe are back in the fold, and joining them on the offensive side of the ball are a pair of talented pass-catchers in Steve Smith and Owen Daniels. Joe Flacco desperately needed better weapons around him after slogging through the 2013 season without Anquan Boldin and with Pitta out with a severe injury for almost the entire year. Now, he has one of the league’s best tight end duos at his disposal, a wealth of depth at wide receiver, and Ray Rice out of the backfield.
Daniels is a steal on a one-year deal for the Ravens, as he will make just $1 million in base salary and $1 million in incentives. That’s right, a tight end who has caught at least 50 passes in a season on four different occasions will make a maximum of just $2 million and has absolutely no guaranteed money. He’ll be a solid safety valve as a TE2 for Flacco, and it’s almost ridiculous what Newsome has been able to do this offseason.
Head coach John Harbaugh is excited to have Daniels in the fold, and he seems ready to knock out some tough-to-defend twin-TE sets. He said of Daniels’s role in 2014, via the Carroll County Times’s Matt Zenitz, “Just couldn’t be more happy, more excited. … I guarantee his role will be plenty big. He’s going to have a lot to do with our success next year, and we’ve got a lot of big plans for him.”
Daniels chose the Ravens over the Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins, who would have also formed a dynamic duo at the position with second-year pro Jordan Reed locked in as a starter. Their big addition for Robert Griffin III was DeSean Jackson, but the Ravens got the better financial value here by signing Daniels to a no-risk deal. Why did he come so cheap? Well, he is 31, is more “solid” than “great”, and he’s suffered some rough injuries lately with 26 missed games over the past five seasons (so about five missed games per year, and he played in just five total games last season).